Don Incognito
Don Incognito asked:

Should I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or The Magician's Nephew first?

Peter Yoder LION FIRST! As someone who has read The Chronicles of Narnia at least eleven times, I know the books inside and out and can state categorically that reading the books in their original published order is the best way to experience them. Here are the reasons:

1. Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe through Silver Chair follow the childhoods of the Pevensies and company, and thematically flow best when not interrupted by Horse and His Boy. They also reveal the world at the best pace for new readers.
2. There is a powerful nostalgia factor that you get when reading the Horse and His Boy that is diminished if you read it right after Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe. Magician and Last Battle also play off that nostalgia.
3. The Magician's Nephew has allusions to another book that would not make sense if you had read Magician first. It is also experienced much better when you already have a picture of Narnia from the other books. You kind of spoil the surprises if you read it first.

If C.S. Lewis was reorganizing the books to be in chronological order, it was an effort that never made its way into the books. I was flabbergasted when publishers started printing editions differently. Reordering the books in my mind is like recutting Memento. Will it still tell a story? yes. Will the story be as good? no. At least not without serious rework.

The published order is:
1. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
2. Prince Caspian
3. Voyage of the Dawn Treader
4. The Silver Chair
5. The Horse and His Boy
6. The Magician's Nephew
7. The Last Battle
Richard C. S. Lewis was in the process of organising the stories into chronological sequence but died before he could make his intended changes to cause the series to read more smoothly. As they stand now, if read in order of Narnian chronology one notices some difficulties in tone. Jadis, a heroic Amazonian figure in "The Magician's Nephew" shrinks into a mean-spirited witch in "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe". The tone of the various volumes varies considerably. As he wrote Lewis became more emotionally involved with his world and the writing became more profound. But a gain in reading in chronological order is an awareness of a cosmology beginning with Creation and ending with an Apocalypse.

On the other hand, if read in publication order, one experiences something of the delight and surprise that the original readers of the series had as the narrative spotlight illuminated the various Narnian scenes and characters from book to book.

Of course, it is always possible to read the series both ways. Perhaps experience the publication order first and then sample the effects of a chronological approach. In the end it is certainly your call. :}
F. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Unless you are the type of person that ignores it when people say, "Spoiler Alert!"


(I could just cry when people read MN first.)
PaulESchilling I think people should read or view a series, any series, in the order the author published them originally. It doesn't matter of if it is the Chronicles of Narnia or the Star Wars movies, the creators will be writing in full knowledge of the other books, having the narrative reflect off the earlier writing in ways that assume the original order of writing. Thus the emotional impact will always be greatest in original order.
Jakub Zahumensky I think both orders have some appeal. If you start with the Lion, you will wonder about some things and characters, where they came from, who they are, what they want. The Magician's Nephew introduces them. So if you read the Magician's nephew first, you will get a sense of familiarity with Narnia and some of it perks. But it might take some of the suspense away, I guess... C. S. Lewis wanted that people read the Magician's Nephew first, so that's what I am doing, currently about 1/4 through the Wardrobe.

Addition - I have now finished "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and I think I would have definitely enjoyed the book (much) if I hadn't read the Magician's Nephew first. So yeah, start with the Lion, because the Lion is where it all starts.
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* I highly recommend the version as CS Lewis wrote it. Found it more interesting that way and less chance to grow bored. It doesn't get confusing and was how it was initially penned.
K-ROK I would definately suggest reading The Magician's Nephew first. It gives you more background about Narnia and I found that as I read the series through I was happy I did not skip reading it.
Reghan If I was you I'd start with Magician's Nephew. It was the first one I read, because It was the first book, but It's up to you by 100%.
Edo You don't need necessarily to read the Magician's Nephew first.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was written and published before the Magician's Nephew.
For fully understand all the events described, and the origins of Narnia ( the book's fantasy world), yes.. you will need to read it but as I said, the Magician's Nephew is some sort of an extra.
I read all the series and the last book I read was the Magician's Nephew. I understood all the story but when I finally read the first one it only made it even more exciting because I could see the meaning of everything, and more important, the reason of everything.

So, it is completely up to you.
Have a nice day and and a marvelous reading.
Taryn lion the witch and the wardrobe because that is the first book in the chronicles of narnia. that is the way it should be read.
Romney Andreasen It doesn't really matter. It will make since whichever one you decide to read first, but I personally would say The Magician's Nephew. I read it in that order.
Conor Nally There's a debate over that and neither side is wrong; it's completely up to you. I personally think that you should read "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" first but it's your decision.
Karen Clements I work in a library, and I always recommend reading Lion first! It's the best for capturing that sense of wonder at entering a new world. So much of Magician's Nephew makes sense after reading the others first.

Also, notice that when film makers want to make Narnia movies, they always start with Lion. There's a good reason for that--it should be first!
Foxsay123 The Magician's Nephew. It's the first book. The lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the second book
Skyler Ainscough The magicians nephew it sets up the story then start the lion the witch and the wardrobe and move on up the series.
Akujor Jane you should read the lion first is great
Vanessa In my edition of the Narnia series, which is pretty old, "The Magician's Nephew" comes first, so that's the way we read it, and I really wouldn't have wanted to read them the other way around.
Michael Dale Schaefer
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Catherine Baggins Read it in order, once you have read it like that then do what Peter Yoder answered.

Think of the Magician's Nephew like in a TV show where there is a few scenes and then the intro. The Magician's Nephew quite literally is the foundations of the world of the pensieves.

Whilst C.S. Lewis didn't write it in that order, there is a reason why its got a #1 next to it. Its the first book.
Jorge I recommend reading The Magician's Nephew first. According to the introduction in later editions, this is the order preferred by the author.
Elena The magicians nephew doesn't really feel like part of the series so call the lion the witch and the wardrobe the first one.
Mariasanchezmo
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Eric Go in the publication order--not the chronological one that C.S. Lewis wanted! Start reading "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" first.
Lara Alonso Reguero I started the Narnia's Chronicles by the Nephew bcs, chronologically, it's the first.
Faith Clark It really doesn't matter, their both great.
Emilio Me "Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie—step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch." More about it here!
Ada I read The Lion, The Which and the Wardrobe first but I'm thinking I should've read The Magician's Nephew first. It would've helped me understand Narnia more and given me a better background on things.
Sue Branscum Yes I also highly recommend this book
Luke J. Schelvan I don't know?? The Lion and the witch and the wardrobe because it's the first one??
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